Sunday, July 25, 2010

Millinery Straw Braid and Hat Pins

Hello all; it's good to be back.  I thought I'd touch bases with you and thank all of you for returning to my blog for a look-see over the past two months.  I see you looking in, so please take a moment every once and a while to leave a comment; I really would appreciate it.  So what have I been doing?  Recovering of course, but besides that I've been playing around with all things millinery--revisiting old techniques and learning new ones.  After 26 years I've never gotten bored with millinery because I've never stopped learning and experimenting. 

I'm often asked why I hand sew my hats when it would be easier and faster to sew them on a sewing machine, especially when sewing wire on buckram frames, putting in headsize ribbons, etc.  Well, I hand sew them because doing so is therapeutic and extremely relaxing.  I  view the end product as a piece of art--art that I've created.  I only have to please myself and I can take forever to complete a work.  Fabulous!  So, enjoy the following. 

Technique:  Candy/Cello Straw - Hat #1

The hat to your right was sewn in-the-round, row-on-row by hand.  I wanted to give it an asymmetrical look.  In order to accomplish this, I ended the hat after half completing the fifth row; the opposite side of the hat only has four rows.  I must note here that the hat was first shaped and pinned on a balsa hat block (no steam needed) and then removed from the block and sewn.  The top of the hat has been left open.  When sewing this straw, it should be slightly overlapped (this time I put the bottom rows on top), the needle and thread should be inserted into the wrong side of the braid (inside of the hat) and passed through the loop in the upper braid.  By doing this, the thread is totally invisible when viewed from the right side of the hat.  After completion, I placed the hat back onto the block and steamed it.  Never iron this type of straw because ironing would flatten it.  I put in a headsize ribbon and moved on to trimming.  For the trim on this hat, I used feather yardage for the brown portion and some dark packaged feathers for the center.

Technique:  Hat #2